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College Physics for AP® Courses

8.5 Inelastic Collisions in One Dimension

College Physics for AP® Courses8.5 Inelastic Collisions in One Dimension
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  1. Preface
  2. 1 Introduction: The Nature of Science and Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 1.1 Physics: An Introduction
    3. 1.2 Physical Quantities and Units
    4. 1.3 Accuracy, Precision, and Significant Figures
    5. 1.4 Approximation
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
  3. 2 Kinematics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 2.1 Displacement
    3. 2.2 Vectors, Scalars, and Coordinate Systems
    4. 2.3 Time, Velocity, and Speed
    5. 2.4 Acceleration
    6. 2.5 Motion Equations for Constant Acceleration in One Dimension
    7. 2.6 Problem-Solving Basics for One Dimensional Kinematics
    8. 2.7 Falling Objects
    9. 2.8 Graphical Analysis of One Dimensional Motion
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  4. 3 Two-Dimensional Kinematics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 3.1 Kinematics in Two Dimensions: An Introduction
    3. 3.2 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Graphical Methods
    4. 3.3 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Analytical Methods
    5. 3.4 Projectile Motion
    6. 3.5 Addition of Velocities
    7. Glossary
    8. Section Summary
    9. Conceptual Questions
    10. Problems & Exercises
    11. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  5. 4 Dynamics: Force and Newton's Laws of Motion
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 4.1 Development of Force Concept
    3. 4.2 Newton's First Law of Motion: Inertia
    4. 4.3 Newton's Second Law of Motion: Concept of a System
    5. 4.4 Newton's Third Law of Motion: Symmetry in Forces
    6. 4.5 Normal, Tension, and Other Examples of Force
    7. 4.6 Problem-Solving Strategies
    8. 4.7 Further Applications of Newton's Laws of Motion
    9. 4.8 Extended Topic: The Four Basic Forces—An Introduction
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  6. 5 Further Applications of Newton's Laws: Friction, Drag, and Elasticity
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 5.1 Friction
    3. 5.2 Drag Forces
    4. 5.3 Elasticity: Stress and Strain
    5. Glossary
    6. Section Summary
    7. Conceptual Questions
    8. Problems & Exercises
    9. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  7. 6 Gravitation and Uniform Circular Motion
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 6.1 Rotation Angle and Angular Velocity
    3. 6.2 Centripetal Acceleration
    4. 6.3 Centripetal Force
    5. 6.4 Fictitious Forces and Non-inertial Frames: The Coriolis Force
    6. 6.5 Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation
    7. 6.6 Satellites and Kepler's Laws: An Argument for Simplicity
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  8. 7 Work, Energy, and Energy Resources
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 7.1 Work: The Scientific Definition
    3. 7.2 Kinetic Energy and the Work-Energy Theorem
    4. 7.3 Gravitational Potential Energy
    5. 7.4 Conservative Forces and Potential Energy
    6. 7.5 Nonconservative Forces
    7. 7.6 Conservation of Energy
    8. 7.7 Power
    9. 7.8 Work, Energy, and Power in Humans
    10. 7.9 World Energy Use
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  9. 8 Linear Momentum and Collisions
    1. Connection for AP® courses
    2. 8.1 Linear Momentum and Force
    3. 8.2 Impulse
    4. 8.3 Conservation of Momentum
    5. 8.4 Elastic Collisions in One Dimension
    6. 8.5 Inelastic Collisions in One Dimension
    7. 8.6 Collisions of Point Masses in Two Dimensions
    8. 8.7 Introduction to Rocket Propulsion
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  10. 9 Statics and Torque
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 9.1 The First Condition for Equilibrium
    3. 9.2 The Second Condition for Equilibrium
    4. 9.3 Stability
    5. 9.4 Applications of Statics, Including Problem-Solving Strategies
    6. 9.5 Simple Machines
    7. 9.6 Forces and Torques in Muscles and Joints
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  11. 10 Rotational Motion and Angular Momentum
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 10.1 Angular Acceleration
    3. 10.2 Kinematics of Rotational Motion
    4. 10.3 Dynamics of Rotational Motion: Rotational Inertia
    5. 10.4 Rotational Kinetic Energy: Work and Energy Revisited
    6. 10.5 Angular Momentum and Its Conservation
    7. 10.6 Collisions of Extended Bodies in Two Dimensions
    8. 10.7 Gyroscopic Effects: Vector Aspects of Angular Momentum
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  12. 11 Fluid Statics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 11.1 What Is a Fluid?
    3. 11.2 Density
    4. 11.3 Pressure
    5. 11.4 Variation of Pressure with Depth in a Fluid
    6. 11.5 Pascal’s Principle
    7. 11.6 Gauge Pressure, Absolute Pressure, and Pressure Measurement
    8. 11.7 Archimedes’ Principle
    9. 11.8 Cohesion and Adhesion in Liquids: Surface Tension and Capillary Action
    10. 11.9 Pressures in the Body
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  13. 12 Fluid Dynamics and Its Biological and Medical Applications
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 12.1 Flow Rate and Its Relation to Velocity
    3. 12.2 Bernoulli’s Equation
    4. 12.3 The Most General Applications of Bernoulli’s Equation
    5. 12.4 Viscosity and Laminar Flow; Poiseuille’s Law
    6. 12.5 The Onset of Turbulence
    7. 12.6 Motion of an Object in a Viscous Fluid
    8. 12.7 Molecular Transport Phenomena: Diffusion, Osmosis, and Related Processes
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  14. 13 Temperature, Kinetic Theory, and the Gas Laws
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 13.1 Temperature
    3. 13.2 Thermal Expansion of Solids and Liquids
    4. 13.3 The Ideal Gas Law
    5. 13.4 Kinetic Theory: Atomic and Molecular Explanation of Pressure and Temperature
    6. 13.5 Phase Changes
    7. 13.6 Humidity, Evaporation, and Boiling
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  15. 14 Heat and Heat Transfer Methods
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 14.1 Heat
    3. 14.2 Temperature Change and Heat Capacity
    4. 14.3 Phase Change and Latent Heat
    5. 14.4 Heat Transfer Methods
    6. 14.5 Conduction
    7. 14.6 Convection
    8. 14.7 Radiation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  16. 15 Thermodynamics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 15.1 The First Law of Thermodynamics
    3. 15.2 The First Law of Thermodynamics and Some Simple Processes
    4. 15.3 Introduction to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Heat Engines and Their Efficiency
    5. 15.4 Carnot’s Perfect Heat Engine: The Second Law of Thermodynamics Restated
    6. 15.5 Applications of Thermodynamics: Heat Pumps and Refrigerators
    7. 15.6 Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Disorder and the Unavailability of Energy
    8. 15.7 Statistical Interpretation of Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: The Underlying Explanation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  17. 16 Oscillatory Motion and Waves
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 16.1 Hooke’s Law: Stress and Strain Revisited
    3. 16.2 Period and Frequency in Oscillations
    4. 16.3 Simple Harmonic Motion: A Special Periodic Motion
    5. 16.4 The Simple Pendulum
    6. 16.5 Energy and the Simple Harmonic Oscillator
    7. 16.6 Uniform Circular Motion and Simple Harmonic Motion
    8. 16.7 Damped Harmonic Motion
    9. 16.8 Forced Oscillations and Resonance
    10. 16.9 Waves
    11. 16.10 Superposition and Interference
    12. 16.11 Energy in Waves: Intensity
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
    17. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  18. 17 Physics of Hearing
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 17.1 Sound
    3. 17.2 Speed of Sound, Frequency, and Wavelength
    4. 17.3 Sound Intensity and Sound Level
    5. 17.4 Doppler Effect and Sonic Booms
    6. 17.5 Sound Interference and Resonance: Standing Waves in Air Columns
    7. 17.6 Hearing
    8. 17.7 Ultrasound
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  19. 18 Electric Charge and Electric Field
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 18.1 Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge
    3. 18.2 Conductors and Insulators
    4. 18.3 Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium
    5. 18.4 Coulomb’s Law
    6. 18.5 Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited
    7. 18.6 Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges
    8. 18.7 Electric Forces in Biology
    9. 18.8 Applications of Electrostatics
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  20. 19 Electric Potential and Electric Field
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 19.1 Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
    3. 19.2 Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field
    4. 19.3 Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge
    5. 19.4 Equipotential Lines
    6. 19.5 Capacitors and Dielectrics
    7. 19.6 Capacitors in Series and Parallel
    8. 19.7 Energy Stored in Capacitors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  21. 20 Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 20.1 Current
    3. 20.2 Ohm’s Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits
    4. 20.3 Resistance and Resistivity
    5. 20.4 Electric Power and Energy
    6. 20.5 Alternating Current versus Direct Current
    7. 20.6 Electric Hazards and the Human Body
    8. 20.7 Nerve Conduction–Electrocardiograms
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  22. 21 Circuits, Bioelectricity, and DC Instruments
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 21.1 Resistors in Series and Parallel
    3. 21.2 Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage
    4. 21.3 Kirchhoff’s Rules
    5. 21.4 DC Voltmeters and Ammeters
    6. 21.5 Null Measurements
    7. 21.6 DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  23. 22 Magnetism
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 22.1 Magnets
    3. 22.2 Ferromagnets and Electromagnets
    4. 22.3 Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines
    5. 22.4 Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field
    6. 22.5 Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications
    7. 22.6 The Hall Effect
    8. 22.7 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor
    9. 22.8 Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters
    10. 22.9 Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Ampere’s Law
    11. 22.10 Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors
    12. 22.11 More Applications of Magnetism
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
    17. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  24. 23 Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits, and Electrical Technologies
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 23.1 Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux
    3. 23.2 Faraday’s Law of Induction: Lenz’s Law
    4. 23.3 Motional Emf
    5. 23.4 Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping
    6. 23.5 Electric Generators
    7. 23.6 Back Emf
    8. 23.7 Transformers
    9. 23.8 Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices
    10. 23.9 Inductance
    11. 23.10 RL Circuits
    12. 23.11 Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive
    13. 23.12 RLC Series AC Circuits
    14. Glossary
    15. Section Summary
    16. Conceptual Questions
    17. Problems & Exercises
    18. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  25. 24 Electromagnetic Waves
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 24.1 Maxwell’s Equations: Electromagnetic Waves Predicted and Observed
    3. 24.2 Production of Electromagnetic Waves
    4. 24.3 The Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 24.4 Energy in Electromagnetic Waves
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
    10. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  26. 25 Geometric Optics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 25.1 The Ray Aspect of Light
    3. 25.2 The Law of Reflection
    4. 25.3 The Law of Refraction
    5. 25.4 Total Internal Reflection
    6. 25.5 Dispersion: The Rainbow and Prisms
    7. 25.6 Image Formation by Lenses
    8. 25.7 Image Formation by Mirrors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  27. 26 Vision and Optical Instruments
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 26.1 Physics of the Eye
    3. 26.2 Vision Correction
    4. 26.3 Color and Color Vision
    5. 26.4 Microscopes
    6. 26.5 Telescopes
    7. 26.6 Aberrations
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  28. 27 Wave Optics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 27.1 The Wave Aspect of Light: Interference
    3. 27.2 Huygens's Principle: Diffraction
    4. 27.3 Young’s Double Slit Experiment
    5. 27.4 Multiple Slit Diffraction
    6. 27.5 Single Slit Diffraction
    7. 27.6 Limits of Resolution: The Rayleigh Criterion
    8. 27.7 Thin Film Interference
    9. 27.8 Polarization
    10. 27.9 *Extended Topic* Microscopy Enhanced by the Wave Characteristics of Light
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  29. 28 Special Relativity
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 28.1 Einstein’s Postulates
    3. 28.2 Simultaneity And Time Dilation
    4. 28.3 Length Contraction
    5. 28.4 Relativistic Addition of Velocities
    6. 28.5 Relativistic Momentum
    7. 28.6 Relativistic Energy
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  30. 29 Introduction to Quantum Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 29.1 Quantization of Energy
    3. 29.2 The Photoelectric Effect
    4. 29.3 Photon Energies and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 29.4 Photon Momentum
    6. 29.5 The Particle-Wave Duality
    7. 29.6 The Wave Nature of Matter
    8. 29.7 Probability: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
    9. 29.8 The Particle-Wave Duality Reviewed
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
    14. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  31. 30 Atomic Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 30.1 Discovery of the Atom
    3. 30.2 Discovery of the Parts of the Atom: Electrons and Nuclei
    4. 30.3 Bohr’s Theory of the Hydrogen Atom
    5. 30.4 X Rays: Atomic Origins and Applications
    6. 30.5 Applications of Atomic Excitations and De-Excitations
    7. 30.6 The Wave Nature of Matter Causes Quantization
    8. 30.7 Patterns in Spectra Reveal More Quantization
    9. 30.8 Quantum Numbers and Rules
    10. 30.9 The Pauli Exclusion Principle
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
    15. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  32. 31 Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 31.1 Nuclear Radioactivity
    3. 31.2 Radiation Detection and Detectors
    4. 31.3 Substructure of the Nucleus
    5. 31.4 Nuclear Decay and Conservation Laws
    6. 31.5 Half-Life and Activity
    7. 31.6 Binding Energy
    8. 31.7 Tunneling
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  33. 32 Medical Applications of Nuclear Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 32.1 Medical Imaging and Diagnostics
    3. 32.2 Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation
    4. 32.3 Therapeutic Uses of Ionizing Radiation
    5. 32.4 Food Irradiation
    6. 32.5 Fusion
    7. 32.6 Fission
    8. 32.7 Nuclear Weapons
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
    13. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  34. 33 Particle Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 33.1 The Yukawa Particle and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Revisited
    3. 33.2 The Four Basic Forces
    4. 33.3 Accelerators Create Matter from Energy
    5. 33.4 Particles, Patterns, and Conservation Laws
    6. 33.5 Quarks: Is That All There Is?
    7. 33.6 GUTs: The Unification of Forces
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
    12. Test Prep for AP® Courses
  35. 34 Frontiers of Physics
    1. Connection for AP® Courses
    2. 34.1 Cosmology and Particle Physics
    3. 34.2 General Relativity and Quantum Gravity
    4. 34.3 Superstrings
    5. 34.4 Dark Matter and Closure
    6. 34.5 Complexity and Chaos
    7. 34.6 High-Temperature Superconductors
    8. 34.7 Some Questions We Know to Ask
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  36. A | Atomic Masses
  37. B | Selected Radioactive Isotopes
  38. C | Useful Information
  39. D | Glossary of Key Symbols and Notation
  40. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
    15. Chapter 15
    16. Chapter 16
    17. Chapter 17
    18. Chapter 18
    19. Chapter 19
    20. Chapter 20
    21. Chapter 21
    22. Chapter 22
    23. Chapter 23
    24. Chapter 24
    25. Chapter 25
    26. Chapter 26
    27. Chapter 27
    28. Chapter 28
    29. Chapter 29
    30. Chapter 30
    31. Chapter 31
    32. Chapter 32
    33. Chapter 33
    34. Chapter 34
  41. Index

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Define inelastic collision.
  • Explain perfectly inelastic collisions.
  • Apply an understanding of collisions to sports.
  • Determine recoil velocity and loss in kinetic energy given mass and initial velocity.

The information presented in this section supports the following AP® learning objectives and science practices:

  • 4.B.1.1 The student is able to calculate the change in linear momentum of a two-object system with constant mass in linear motion from a representation of the system (data, graphs, etc.). (S.P. 1.4, 2.2)
  • 5.A.2.1 The student is able to define open and closed systems for everyday situations and apply conservation concepts for energy, charge, and linear momentum to those situations. (S.P. 6.4, 7.2)
  • 5.D.1.3 The student is able to apply mathematical routines appropriately to problems involving elastic collisions in one dimension and justify the selection of those mathematical routines based on conservation of momentum and restoration of kinetic energy. (S.P. 2.1, 2.2)
  • 5.D.1.5 The student is able to classify a given collision situation as elastic or inelastic, justify the selection of conservation of linear momentum and restoration of kinetic energy as the appropriate principles for analyzing an elastic collision, solve for missing variables, and calculate their values. (S.P. 2.1, 2.2)
  • 5.D.2.1 The student is able to qualitatively predict, in terms of linear momentum and kinetic energy, how the outcome of a collision between two objects changes depending on whether the collision is elastic or inelastic. (S.P. 6.4, 7.2)
  • 5.D.2.2 The student is able to plan data collection strategies to test the law of conservation of momentum in a two-object collision that is elastic or inelastic and analyze the resulting data graphically. (S.P.4.1, 4.2, 5.1)
  • 5.D.2.3 The student is able to apply the conservation of linear momentum to a closed system of objects involved in an inelastic collision to predict the change in kinetic energy. (S.P. 6.4, 7.2)
  • 5.D.2.4 The student is able to analyze data that verify conservation of momentum in collisions with and without an external friction force. (S.P. 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 5.1, 5.3)
  • 5.D.2.5 The student is able to classify a given collision situation as elastic or inelastic, justify the selection of conservation of linear momentum as the appropriate solution method for an inelastic collision, recognize that there is a common final velocity for the colliding objects in the totally inelastic case, solve for missing variables, and calculate their values. (S.P. 2.1 2.2)
  • 5.D.2.6 The student is able to apply the conservation of linear momentum to an isolated system of objects involved in an inelastic collision to predict the change in kinetic energy. (S.P. 6.4, 7.2)

We have seen that in an elastic collision, internal kinetic energy is conserved. An inelastic collision is one in which the internal kinetic energy changes (it is not conserved). This lack of conservation means that the forces between colliding objects may remove or add internal kinetic energy. Work done by internal forces may change the forms of energy within a system. For inelastic collisions, such as when colliding objects stick together, this internal work may transform some internal kinetic energy into heat transfer. Or it may convert stored energy into internal kinetic energy, such as when exploding bolts separate a satellite from its launch vehicle.

Inelastic Collision

An inelastic collision is one in which the internal kinetic energy changes (it is not conserved).

Figure 8.11 shows an example of an inelastic collision. Two objects that have equal masses head toward one another at equal speeds and then stick together. Their total internal kinetic energy is initially 1 2 m v 2 + 1 2 m v 2 =m v 2 1 2 m v 2 + 1 2 m v 2 =m v 2 . The two objects come to rest after sticking together, conserving momentum. But the internal kinetic energy is zero after the collision. A collision in which the objects stick together is sometimes called a perfectly inelastic collision because it reduces internal kinetic energy more than does any other type of inelastic collision. In fact, such a collision reduces internal kinetic energy to the minimum it can have while still conserving momentum.

Perfectly Inelastic Collision

A collision in which the objects stick together is sometimes called “perfectly inelastic.”

The system of interest contains two equal masses with mass m. One moves to the right and the other moves to the left with the same magnitude of velocity represented by V. Due to this their total momentum and net force remains zero. The internal kinetic energy is mv power 2. After collision the system of interest has no net velocity, no total momentum and no internal kinetic energy. This is true for all inelastic collisions.
Figure 8.11 An inelastic one-dimensional two-object collision. Momentum is conserved, but internal kinetic energy is not conserved. (a) Two objects of equal mass initially head directly toward one another at the same speed. (b) The objects stick together (a perfectly inelastic collision), and so their final velocity is zero. The internal kinetic energy of the system changes in any inelastic collision and is reduced to zero in this example.

Example 8.5 Calculating Velocity and Change in Kinetic Energy: Inelastic Collision of a Puck and a Goalie

(a) Find the recoil velocity of a 70.0-kg ice hockey goalie, originally at rest, who catches a 0.150-kg hockey puck slapped at him at a velocity of 35.0 m/s. (b) How much kinetic energy is lost during the collision? Assume friction between the ice and the puck-goalie system is negligible. (See Figure 8.12 )

The first picture shows an ice hockey goal keeper of mass m 2 bent on his knees, turning to the left on a frictionless ice surface with zero velocity and a hockey puck of mass m 1 and velocity V 1 moving toward the right. The total momentum of the system is p 1 which is the momentum of the puck and the net force is zero. The second picture shows the goalie to catch the puck. The puck moves with velocity V 1prime and the goalie with velocity V 2 prime and their magnitudes are equal. The momentum of the puck is p 1 prime and the goalie is p 2 prime. The total momentum remains same as before collision. But the kinetic energy after collision is lesser than the kinetic energy before collision. This is true for inelastic collisions.
Figure 8.12 An ice hockey goalie catches a hockey puck and recoils backward. The initial kinetic energy of the puck is almost entirely converted to thermal energy and sound in this inelastic collision.

Strategy

Momentum is conserved because the net external force on the puck-goalie system is zero. We can thus use conservation of momentum to find the final velocity of the puck and goalie system. Note that the initial velocity of the goalie is zero and that the final velocity of the puck and goalie are the same. Once the final velocity is found, the kinetic energies can be calculated before and after the collision and compared as requested.

Solution for (a)

Momentum is conserved because the net external force on the puck-goalie system is zero.

Conservation of momentum is

p 1 + p 2 = p 1 + p 2 p 1 + p 2 = p 1 + p 2 size 12{p rSub { size 8{1} } +p rSub { size 8{2} } = { {p}} sup { ' } rSub { size 8{1} } + { {p}} sup { ' } rSub { size 8{2} } } {}
8.63

or

m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 = m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 . m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 = m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 . size 12{m rSub { size 8{1} } v rSub { size 8{1} } +m rSub { size 8{2} } v rSub { size 8{2} } =m rSub { size 8{1} } { {v}} sup { ' } rSub { size 8{1} } +m rSub { size 8{2} } { {v}} sup { ' } rSub { size 8{2} } } {}
8.64

Because the goalie is initially at rest, we know v2=0v2=0 size 12{v rSub { size 8{2} } =0} {}. Because the goalie catches the puck, the final velocities are equal, or v 1 = v 2 =v v 1 = v 2 =v size 12{ { {v}} sup { ' } rSub { size 8{1} } = { {v}} sup { ' } rSub { size 8{2} } =v'} {}. Thus, the conservation of momentum equation simplifies to

m1v1=m1+m2v.m1v1=m1+m2v. size 12{m rSub { size 8{1} } v rSub { size 8{1} } = left (m rSub { size 8{1} } +m rSub { size 8{2} } right )v'} {}
8.65

Solving for vv size 12{v'} {} yields

v=m1m1+m2v1.v=m1m1+m2v1. size 12{v'= { {m rSub { size 8{1} } } over {m rSub { size 8{1} } +m rSub { size 8{2} } } } v rSub { size 8{1} } } {}
8.66

Entering known values in this equation, we get

v = 0.150 kg 70.0 kg + 0.150 kg 35 .0 m/s = 7 . 48 × 10 2 m/s . v = 0.150 kg 70.0 kg + 0.150 kg 35 .0 m/s = 7 . 48 × 10 2 m/s . size 12{v'= left ( { {0 "." "150"`"kg"} over {"70" "." 0`"kg"+0 "." "150"`"kg"} } right ) left ("35" "." 0`"m/s" right )=7 "." "48" times "10" rSup { size 8{ - 2} } `"m/s" "." } {}
8.67

Discussion for (a)

This recoil velocity is small and in the same direction as the puck’s original velocity, as we might expect.

Solution for (b)

Before the collision, the internal kinetic energy KEintKEint size 12{"KE" rSub { size 8{"int"} } } {} of the system is that of the hockey puck, because the goalie is initially at rest. Therefore, KEintKEint size 12{"KE" rSub { size 8{"int"} } } {} is initially

KE int = 1 2 mv 2 = 1 2 0 . 150 kg 35 .0 m/s 2 = 91 . 9 J . KE int = 1 2 mv 2 = 1 2 0 . 150 kg 35 .0 m/s 2 = 91 . 9 J .
8.68

After the collision, the internal kinetic energy is

KE int = 1 2 m + M v 2 = 1 2 70 . 15 kg 7 . 48 × 10 2 m/s 2 = 0.196 J. KE int = 1 2 m + M v 2 = 1 2 70 . 15 kg 7 . 48 × 10 2 m/s 2 = 0.196 J.
8.69

The change in internal kinetic energy is thus

KE int KE int = 0.196 J 91.9 J = 91.7 J KE int KE int = 0.196 J 91.9 J = 91.7 J
8.70

where the minus sign indicates that the energy was lost.

Discussion for (b)

Nearly all of the initial internal kinetic energy is lost in this perfectly inelastic collision. KEintKEint size 12{"KE" rSub { size 8{"int"} } } {} is mostly converted to thermal energy and sound.

During some collisions, the objects do not stick together and less of the internal kinetic energy is removed—such as happens in most automobile accidents. Alternatively, stored energy may be converted into internal kinetic energy during a collision. Figure 8.13 shows a one-dimensional example in which two carts on an air track collide, releasing potential energy from a compressed spring. Example 8.6 deals with data from such a collision.

An uncoiled spring is connected to a glider with triangular cross sectional area of mass m 1 which moves with velocity v 1 toward the right. Another solid glider of mass m 2 and triangular cross sectional area moves toward the left with velocity V 2 on a frictionless surface. The total momentum is the sum of their individual momentum p 1 and p 2. After collision m 1 moves to the left with velocity V 1 prime and momentum p 1prime. M 2 moves to the right with velocity V 2 prime. Their individual momentum becomes p 1prime and p 2 prime but the total momentum remains the same. The internal kinetic energy after collision is greater than the kinetic energy before collision.
Figure 8.13 An air track is nearly frictionless, so that momentum is conserved. Motion is one-dimensional. In this collision, examined in Example 8.6, the potential energy of a compressed spring is released during the collision and is converted to internal kinetic energy.

Collisions are particularly important in sports and the sporting and leisure industry utilizes elastic and inelastic collisions. Let us look briefly at tennis. Recall that in a collision, it is momentum and not force that is important. So, a heavier tennis racquet will have the advantage over a lighter one. This conclusion also holds true for other sports—a lightweight bat (such as a softball bat) cannot hit a hardball very far.

The location of the impact of the tennis ball on the racquet is also important, as is the part of the stroke during which the impact occurs. A smooth motion results in the maximizing of the velocity of the ball after impact and reduces sports injuries such as tennis elbow. A tennis player tries to hit the ball on the “sweet spot” on the racquet, where the vibration and impact are minimized and the ball is able to be given more velocity. Sports science and technologies also use physics concepts such as momentum and rotational motion and vibrations.

Take-Home Experiment—Bouncing of Tennis Ball

  1. Find a racquet (a tennis, badminton, or other racquet will do). Place the racquet on the floor and stand on the handle. Drop a tennis ball on the strings from a measured height. Measure how high the ball bounces. Now ask a friend to hold the racquet firmly by the handle and drop a tennis ball from the same measured height above the racquet. Measure how high the ball bounces and observe what happens to your friend’s hand during the collision. Explain your observations and measurements.
  2. The coefficient of restitution (c)(c) size 12{ \( c \) } {} is a measure of the elasticity of a collision between a ball and an object, and is defined as the ratio of the speeds after and before the collision. A perfectly elastic collision has a cc size 12{c} {} of 1. For a ball bouncing off the floor (or a racquet on the floor), cc size 12{c} {} can be shown to be c=(h/H)1/2c=(h/H)1/2 size 12{c= \( h/H \) rSup { size 8{1/2} } } {} where hh size 12{h} {} is the height to which the ball bounces and HH size 12{H} {} is the height from which the ball is dropped. Determine cc size 12{c} {} for the cases in Part 1 and for the case of a tennis ball bouncing off a concrete or wooden floor (c=0.85c=0.85 size 12{c=0 "." "85"} {} for new tennis balls used on a tennis court).

Example 8.6 Calculating Final Velocity and Energy Release: Two Carts Collide

In the collision pictured in Figure 8.13, two carts collide inelastically. Cart 1 (denoted m1m1 size 12{m rSub { size 8{1} } } {} carries a spring which is initially compressed. During the collision, the spring releases its potential energy and converts it to internal kinetic energy. The mass of cart 1 and the spring is 0.350 kg, and the cart and the spring together have an initial velocity of 2.00 m/s2.00 m/s size 12{2 "." "00"`"m/s"} {}. Cart 2 (denoted m2m2 size 12{m rSub { size 8{2} } } {} in Figure 8.13) has a mass of 0.500 kg and an initial velocity of 0.500 m/s0.500 m/s size 12{ - 0 "." "500"`"m/s"} {}. After the collision, cart 1 is observed to recoil with a velocity of 4.00 m/s4.00 m/s size 12{ - 4 "." "00"`"m/s"} {}. (a) What is the final velocity of cart 2? (b) How much energy was released by the spring (assuming all of it was converted into internal kinetic energy)?

Strategy

We can use conservation of momentum to find the final velocity of cart 2, because Fnet=0Fnet=0 size 12{F rSub { size 8{"net"} } =0} {} (the track is frictionless and the force of the spring is internal). Once this velocity is determined, we can compare the internal kinetic energy before and after the collision to see how much energy was released by the spring.

Solution for (a)

As before, the equation for conservation of momentum in a two-object system is

m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 = m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 . m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 = m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 .
8.71

The only unknown in this equation is v 2 v 2 . Solving for v 2 v 2 and substituting known values into the previous equation yields

v 2 = m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 m 1 v 1 m 2 = 0.350 kg 2.00 m/s + 0.500 kg 0.500 m/s 0.500 kg 0.350 kg 4.00 m/s 0.500 kg = 3.70 m/s. v 2 = m 1 v 1 + m 2 v 2 m 1 v 1 m 2 = 0.350 kg 2.00 m/s + 0.500 kg 0.500 m/s 0.500 kg 0.350 kg 4.00 m/s 0.500 kg = 3.70 m/s.
8.72

Solution for (b)

The internal kinetic energy before the collision is

KEint = 12m1 v12+12 m2 v22 = 120.350 kg2.00 m/s2+120.500 kg0.500 m/s2 = 0.763 J. KEint = 12m1 v12+12 m2 v22 = 120.350 kg2.00 m/s2+120.500 kg0.500 m/s2 = 0.763 J.
8.73

After the collision, the internal kinetic energy is

KEint = 12m1v12+12 m2v22 = 1 2 0.350 kg - 4.00 m/s 2 + 1 2 0.500 kg 3.70 m/s 2 = 6.22 J. KEint = 12m1v12+12 m2v22 = 1 2 0.350 kg - 4.00 m/s 2 + 1 2 0.500 kg 3.70 m/s 2 = 6.22 J.
8.74

The change in internal kinetic energy is thus

KE int KE int = 6.22 J 0 . 763 J = 5.46 J. KE int KE int = 6.22 J 0 . 763 J = 5.46 J.
8.75

Discussion

The final velocity of cart 2 is large and positive, meaning that it is moving to the right after the collision. The internal kinetic energy in this collision increases by 5.46 J. That energy was released by the spring.

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